My girlfriend brought these granola bars over for a playgroup one morning and ever since they've been a staple! My son requests them almost daily so I usually triple the recipe and make 2 trays so we have plenty on hand.
This recipe is really great, but I have some changes that can make it near perfect. I used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, canola oil in place of vegetable oil, and I reduce the brown sugar to 1/2 cup and they are still super sweet, and even down to 1/3 cup and they're still yummy. For flavor I always use 1 tsp. of cinnamon and a whole cup of raisins. To make them chewy still use a 9x13 pan but don't spread the mixture into the entire pan- leave about an inch and a half empty space on one end. (The batter will cook exactly as it sits so you don't have to worry about it spreading. Also, you must be careful not to overcook these. Thirty minutes is way too long, but since every oven is different I can only really tell you that you need to take them out right when you see the edges becoming brown (the middle may still appear undone.) For me that is 18 minutes. If you do that they will stay chewy forever--just store them in a ziploc bag. And my last bit of advice is that you can get really creative with this recipe. For example, instead of raisins add dried cranberries and slivered almonds. Or up the cinnamon and add chopped dried apples. Or you could add peanut butter and freeze dried banana bits (like you find in the toddler section). Or you could play around with some canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Just have fun! - 20 Apr 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
This recipe is a wonderful start! What I love about it is all that you can do with it. I've been making this for months now. What I usually do is throw in whatever leftover bananas (goes great with the vanilla), applesauce, trail-mix, etc. into the mix! (this week I put in blueberries) Some weeks I put about a 1/4 cup peanut butter with the wet ingredients. Sometimes I put lemon, almond (especially yummy) or rum flavoring with the vanilla. Most times it comes out like a granola bar, sometimes like a cookie bar, but it's always good. I sometimes use whole wheat flour too. The only time I messed up this recipe, it came out a little dry and wouldn't cut without crumbling. I just crumbled it up, threw it back in the oven for a bit and had some mean granola. A good tip with this recipe is to measure out the vegetable oil first and then use the same measuring cup for the honey....it prevents the honey from sticking. Always wonderful, I have some baking right now. - 08 Jul 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
I've made these bars twice now; the first time, I followed the directions exactly and I found the finished product a little to crumbly for my taste. The kids and hubby devoured them and immediately requested more. The 2nd time I added 1/2 cup of apple sauce to the mix . This made the bars much easier to cut and gave them a more chewy, cookie-like texture. The fam. inhaled these, as well. In the future, I guess I'll add apple sauce and make them more chewy depending on the mood of my kids that day, (my husband prefers the crunchy). Thanks!!! - 15 Jul 2006 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)